Anime DVD Review: Wolf’s Rain: Leader of the Pack

Wolf’s Rain: Leader of the Pack is the first DVD released for the anime series, Wolf’s Rain, and it contains the first five episodes of the series. The episodes are available with an English dub or with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles.

Wolf’s Rain: Leader of the Pack
English Publisher: Bandai Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: June 22, 2004

In the opening scene of the series, a white wolf is seen laying out in the snow. A voice-over narration explains that according to an old legend, Paradise will appear when the end of the world comes. However, only wolves will be able to find Paradise, and they will be led there by a Flower Maiden.

It has been believed that wolves were hunted to extinction nearly 200 years before the start of the series. But, it turns out that wolves still do exist, except they have taken on human forms in order to survive. The main characters are four of these wolves: Kiba, Tsume, Hige, and Toboe. Kiba is lured to Freeze City while following the scent of the Lunar Flower, which is a sign of the Flower Maiden. It is here where he meets the other three wolves.

Kiba is a white wolf who wants to find the Lunar Flower and open the way to Paradise. He acts on his instincts, which causes Kiba to act rashly. Tsume is a gray wolf with a scar across his chest; he is tough and very self-reliant. He doesn’t actually believe in Paradise at first. He only goes along with the group on their journey out of boredom.

Hige is a tan wolf, and he has the strongest sense of smell of the group. He has a carefree attitude, and he’s very comfortable living in human societies. Toboe, a brown wolf, is the youngest of the group. He has the strongest sense of hearing of the group, and he was raised by an old woman who found him as a puppy outside of the city.

Wolf’s Rain has beautiful animation, an excellent musical score (which is provided by Yoko Kanno), and the viewer is presented with a potentially interesting concept and characters. However, by the end of the first five episodes, not much information is given to explain why the wolves were being hunted to extinction in the first place, and not much information is really given as to why the viewer should care for the characters. Maybe the series gets a little better later on, but the five episodes that appear on this disc weren’t able to sell me on the series.

When it comes to the DVD itself, there are seven bonus features included. The first extra is a cast interview, which runs for about seven minutes. This is an interview with the Japanese voice actors for the four main characters (Kiba, Tsume, Toboe, and Hige). The audio is in Japanese, and English subtitles are provided. The next two features are a textless opening and a textless closing.

The next feature is labeled as “Pilot Film.” This feature runs for two minutes and 20 seconds. The audio is in Japanese, and it also includes English subtitles. Next is “Promo Film 1,” which runs for one minute and 44 seconds, and it uses the opening credit music in the background. This extra is also in Japanese with English subtitles. This is followed by “Promo Film 2,” which runs for one minute and 30 seconds. This uses the closing credit music in the background. And just like the previous two features, it features Japanese audio with English subtitles.

The next feature is “15 Second Promos,” and there are four promos in all. You can either choose which one you want to see, or select the option to “Play All.” All four of these promos use the exact same visuals, but there is a slight change to the voice over at the end of each one.

The next link is for “Trailers,” and it includes trailers for properties that Bandai Entertainment was promoting at the time this DVD was released. The feature labeled as “Credits” takes you to the DVD credits.

Wolf’s Rain: Leader of the Pack is a decent release for a single disc DVD. However, I would only recommend this DVD to anime fans who enjoy the Wolf’s Rain series. Unfortunately, this disc is now out of print. If you’re looking to acquire a copy of it, I would suggest searching both online and brick and mortar stores that sell used DVDs and see where you can find it for the best price.

Additional post about Wolf’s Rain:

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